Chlorophyll-a Concentration

The NASA SeaWiFS (Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor) sensor onboard the SeaStart spacecraft was used for detecting and measuring global sea surface chlorophyll-a concentrations throughout the world's oceans from 1997 through 2010. During that time, the satellite was able to establish an unprecedented time series of global chlorophyll-a concentrations. The sensor started experiencing issues around 2008 leading to significant missing data in 2008-2010, so it is recommended to be cautious with data post 2007.

Through detection of phytoplankton, chlorophyll-a concentration provides a measure of biological activity. Phytoplankton are microscopic, free-floating photosynthetic organisms that form the basis for most of the ocean's food chain and play an important role in the global carbon cycle by removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere during photosynthesis.

dates available: 1997-2010

spatial resolution: 0.1° (~9 km)

data archive:

caution: SeaWiFS terminated on Dec 10, 2010: use MODIS or VIIRS for current chlorophyll-a.